Stop the Presses


There’s an old saying in baseball, “You can’t tell the players without a scorecard.”
Matt Klentak is driving the scorecard printer crazy… the presses; yo, stop; now run the presses; stop the presses.

At 10:35 a.m. last Saturday, veteran RH starter Charlie Morton was acquired from the Pirates for a Class A pitcher.  Needing a spot on the roster for Morton, reliever A. J. Achter was designated for assignment 21 days after being claimed on waivers from the Twins.  We hardly knew you A.J.


Two and a-half hours later the Giles to Houston trade was announced but it was different from the speculated one of last week. Needing another roster spot, reliever Dan Otero was designated for assignment 38 days after he was taken from the A’s on waivers.  We knew you longer, Dan….briefly longer.

The five-player anticipated Giles trade finished as a seven-player deal. Included were two guys named Arauz. Each hails from Panama.  They are not related.

From Houston
RH Vincent Valasquez, a 23-year-old with a 94.9 mph fast ball.  Minor league record: 26-14, 3.28 ERA, 6 saves, 296.2 innings, 101 walks, 354 strikeouts. He has started and relieved in the minors. Drafted by the Astros in the second round out of Pomona (CA) High School in 2010.  He was ranked as Houston’s 4th best prospectESPN’s Jayson Stark tweeted last week: “Just talked to an AL exec who thinks that if the Phillies shift Vincent Velasquez to the bullpen, he could be ‘just as good as (Ken) Giles’”.


RH Mark Appel, 24, a star at Stanford University was twice a first-round selection in the draft, eighth by the Pirates in 2012 and first overall by the Astros the next June.  This summer he was a teammate of Aaron Nola and J. P. Crawford in the Future’s game. He’s pegged as a quality three-pitch starter who hasn’t developed in two minor league seasons.  A change in scenery may be what Appel needs.  He’ll certainly join the ranks of young arms competing for a big league job or getting more experience in AAA.
He was Houston’s #2 prospect who’s now the Phillies #2.


LH Brett Oberholtzer, 26, and former star at William Penn High School in New Castle, DE. Major league record: 11-20, 3.94 ERA for 42 starts. Minor league record: 51-45, 3.86 ERA for 122 starts. Originally drafted by Atlanta in the 8th round out of Seminole (FL) Junior College in 2008.


RH Thomas Eshelman, 21.  He was Houston’s second-round selection this past June out  of Cal State-Fullerton where he set an NCAA record for fewest walks per 9 innings, 0.4, in his three-year career.  Between Rookie Ball and Class A: 0-1 for 4 starts, 4.35 ERA.  He’s listed 13th among Houston’s pipeline prospects.


Which Arauz?
Harold, 20, came to the Phillies.  His minor league numbers: 11-8, 3.54 ERA for 53 games (34 starts). He’s from Chiriqui, about 55 kilometers from Alanje, the hometown of INF Jonathan who went to the Astros.  He’s 17 and played in the Gulf Coast League this past year, .254 in 44 games, two home runs, 18 RBI. Harold is 6-foot-5.  Jonathan is five inches shorter.


Morton, 32, Jeremy Hellickson, 28, and Oberholzer are veteran starters, designed to take some pressure and innings away from the young arms. Morton and Hellickson are in their free agent season, more incentive to perform. If each is performing well at the July 31 trade deadline, they would be attractive to clubs in the races.

Chances are, more changes are on the way.


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